Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Speak English!

Recently I have been struggling with the English language. Certain groups of people have taken it upon themselves to make me look like a fool by speaking a language that sounds like my mother tongue but in fact is far from it.

I have stared at these people, either in the flesh, or on my television set, as they abuse the language I have spoken all my life and, basically, speak meaningless nonsense, masquerading as English, in an attempt to make me look and feel like the dumbest person on the planet.

Don’t get me wrong; these people are using English words and constructing sentences and, strictly speaking, if you analysed their sentences you would find that they were in fact speaking English.

The problem is that their sentences make no sense at all.

They are talking bullshit!

For the past ten years or so, I have been paranoid, thinking that I am devolving and gradually turning into a total cretin. However, thinking about it, I have become aware that the language I speak fluently is being abused by certain groups of people like businessmen, politicians and youngsters who have taken my language and mutated it into a new and sometimes unintelligible load of gobbledygook.

The problem is that other people in the same group actually understand what is being said, so I have often found myself looking blankly at them as if they are speaking Russian. To them, I look like the village idiot and really, what I should be saying is “Speak English! You are making no sense whatsoever.”

I am not the only one. Other clever people have noticed this disturbing trend.

I’ve found myself in meetings and at presentations listening to people who use phrases that make no sense whatsoever.

For example, here is a sample presentation with the thoughts going through my head:

Presenter: Going forward, we have to make sure that we are all on the same page.

PM: Are we supposed to be reading a book?

Presenter: I’m sure you all realise that we have to address the elephant in the room.

PM: How rude! I’m not fat!

Presenter: The helicopter view is that we need to make maximum use of our greatest assets and some of those assets are here today. We need to leverage our potential and grab the low hanging fruit.

PM: What are you saying? Are you asking me to fly into the office in a chopper and pick fruit? I didn’t even know we had any apple trees.

Presenter: Nevertheless, we all need to touch base on this one.

PM: Baseball this afternoon anyone?

Presenter: To maximise our business and climb the strategic staircase, we must look under the bonnet. 

PM: I thought we all worked in retail, not an upstairs garage.

Presenter: And for that reason we need to downsize. We will be looking for some volunteers but from the rest of you, let’s put on a record and see who dances.

PM: Party time.

Presenter: Anyone who wants to discuss this can touch base with me offline.


PM: What on earth were you talking about?

Presenter: You fired! Bye!

I’m not saying that such bullshit is spoken in my workplace, but I have noticed an alarming increase in such nonsense.

It’s not just business.  Politicians infuriate me with their bullshit or simply revert to gobbledygook in an attempt to cover their tracks with a string of nonsensical jargon. Either that or they repeat the same drivel ad nauseam. Everybody knows it yet they still do it – and worst of all – they get away with it.

Interviewer: Are you going to admit that you are wrong and that you lied to the House of Commons about the tax increases?

Politician: Let me refer you to my earlier statement. We, as a government, are totally committed to making sure that the working families of the United Kingdom are rewarded.

Interviewer: By paying more taxes?

Politician: The fiscal machinations of the governmental departments are designed, unequivocally and exclusively to promote the advantages of the diligence of our dedicated citizens who reap the rewards of full time employment. 

Interviewer: What does that even mean? You lied to the House, didn’t you? Working families will be much worse off.

Politician: The figures show that our policies have led to the most successful government in years, unlike the last government who were a disaster.

Interviewer: But …

Politician: Will you let me answer the question? My point is that we have increased spending in the NHS by 3% in this term.

Interviewer: What’s that got to do with you lying in the House?

At this point I would love the interviewer to throw down his microphone and slap the politician in the face with a large fish while screaming:


One thing that really annoys me about politicians trying to bamboozle us with inane rhetoric is that they basically think the rest of us are stupid. As they lie to our faces, refuse to answer questions or smile in the most insincere manner possible, they secretly believe that we are stupid enough to buy what they are saying.

Of course, there is the dim possibility that they are sticking to a prewritten script in order to save themselves from being caught out and forced to resign for actually baring their true soul to us.

Finally, we have the youth of today whose “urban” speak is like a foreign language. It comes from rap, I guess, but to me it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

Thankfully, here is the very funny Doc Brown to give me a helping hand:

Mind you, I’m a bit of a hypocrite myself. I originally come from Walsall, a town near to Birmingham, in an area known as “The Black Country”, so-called because of the heavy industry there, pumping vast quantities of soot and smog into the atmosphere.

It is the area that gave us Judas Priest and, most famously, Ozzy Osborne and Black Sabbath, as well as Led Zeppelin.

I used to speak in Black Country slang as illustrated by this jolly little video.

Did you understand it?


joeh said...

Thanks for the painful flashback of meetings with business blather.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Joeh,

Yeah - sorry about that!




Drb said...

Hahahaha this crack me up.
I thought only Americans speak like that due to the lack of lexicon.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi DrB,

You would be amazed at the accents and weirdness spoken in the British Isles!